PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2018: Final Stage





PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2018: Final Stage

By Big Red Machine
From September 16, 2018

PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2018: Final Stage

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Brody King vs. Trevor Lee - 6/10


This was pretty good for a while but lost steam as it went on. I also hated the finish. If you're going to have Lee give Brody a low blow but then have Brody kick out of a small package, don't have Lee then win via a clean (and especially cool) move ten seconds later. Either have him win clean or have him win dirty, but don't have him be dirty for a nearfall and then get the win right afterwards.

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Rey Horus vs. Jeff Cobb - 6.75/10


A good big vs. small match.

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Robbie Eagles vs. Shingo Takagi - 5/10


Shingo worked over Eagles' leg. Eagles sold it well... aside from the times when he was on offense and he completely forgot to sell it so he could run around and do stuff.

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Joey Janela vs. CIMA - 6.25/10


They started off well, but it eventually turned into finisher spam from CIMA, and the more stuff Janela kept kicking out of in a row, the more I stopped caring. Then Joey hit CIMA with one superkick and pinned him.

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Jonah Rock vs. WALTER - 5.25/10


Jonah attacked WALTER during WALTER's entrance. They fought in the crowd, then fought in the ring. They did big-man stuff. Jonah Rock playing Roman Reigns was stupid.

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Bandido vs. Flamita - 7/10


They did some flips and cool stuff.

PWG WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz)(c) vs. The Lucha Brothers - 6.75/10


Wentz & Xavier wore their opponents' masks and imitated them because... mind games, I guess. The Lucha Brothers eventually ripped their masks off. Wentz & Xavier responded by just shrugging, then superkicking the babyfaces, making the babyfaces look dumb.

They proceeded to do many dives and flips and head-drops and other such spots. I guess technically there was a story of guys' heads getting worked over, but that felt like it was just a happy accident resulting from the fact that they wanted to do a million drop-drops and super-kicks and running boots.

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Jeff Cobb vs. Trevor Lee - squash


Lee was being annoying, so Cobb gave him the old squishity-squash treatment.

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Joey Janela vs. Bandido - 4/10


They did stuff for a while. At one point Janela yelled "F*CK JIM CORNETTE!" before hitting a big move. This is the sort of thing that completely takes me out of a match, because it reads to me like an announcement that "THIS IS A SPOTFEST." I am trying to lose myself in the kayfabe, and you are bringing me out of that, an in a way that brings Cornette's criticisms of you to the forefront of my mind. It only makes me more likely to notice that you really aren't telling any sort of story and are just doing spots to get pops.

At one point Janela brought a chair into the ring, which referee Rick Knox made no effort to remove. Knox then yelled at Joey for using a closed fist. Yes, really. The chair was necessary, because apparently Bandido's Rebound German Suplex finisher doesn't look cool enough on its own, so they had to do it through a chair. Then again, I shouldn't be surprised, because this is a Joey Janela match. Consequently, I was not surprised when Janela kicked out after taking Bandido's finisher onto a chair.

From then on, basically everything was "big move, kick-out." At one point Bandido called for chairs from then crowd, and apparently eight wasn't enough so kept calling for more... and then just got superkicked by Janela. What a moron. Bandido finally won after yet another big spot with chairs.

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Shingo Takagi vs. WALTER - 7.75/10


Timothy Thatcher came out with WALTER in the beginning to show there were no hard feelings from last night. WALTER reverted to his big, cocky heel persona here, which was a great dynamic for a match with Shingo. They had a heck of a slugfest and used their size differential to tell the story, with WALTER throwing in some submissions as well to cut down on Shingo's offensive ability. The dynamic they had also let itself excellently to a flash pin which, which was what they did, but I'm honestly not sure I've ever seen someone do one quite the way these two did, and it was absolutely the single most perfect choice of a finish for this particular match.

ADAM BROOKS, DJ Z, TIMOTHY THATCHER, DAVID STARR, & T-HAWK vs. DAN BARRY, DARBY ALLIN, PCO, JODY FLEISCH, & PUMA KING - no rating, meh comedy match


This was the usual comedy match that dragged on for WAY too long. I get that you are trying to give the wrestlers a chance to rest, but in that case I think it would be better to have the tag title match go on right before this. This just went on WAY too long (over eighteen minutes).

BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES FINALS:
Jeff Cobb vs. Bandido vs. Shingo Takagi - 6.75/10


Shingo and Bandido realized that because this is an elimination match, it would be best for them to team up on the much bigger Cobb. They shook on it... and then Bandido immediately turned Shingo. While on the one hand this was a very heelish and not nice thing for Bandido to do, it's kind of hard to not blame Shingo for trusting a man who calls himself "Bandido."

Cobb, having not seen this, offered to form an alliance with Bandido, who agreed. They went to work over Shingo, but then took a dance break because apparently this tournament final match isn't very important. They then went to double-team Shingo, but he just powered through both of them by himself. Worst alliance ever?

Cobb got taken to the outside, and then Bandido got some offense on Shingo... and just pinned him with his finisher, so none of this alliance stuff ever went anywhere. That was odd, and quite frankly it's very disappointing to have a three-way elimination tournament finals and have one guy get eliminated in less than ten minutes. It just makes me ask why they didn't structure the tournament so as to have a two-way finals, because eliminating the third guy so early (and especially when the match goes long enough that he was out of it for more time than he was in it) makes the third guy seem completely inconsequential.

When Cobb got back in the ring he was selling his knee. I'm not sure what happened, but the timing on it combined with the irrelevance of what happened before Shingo was eliminated to the stuff that happened afterwards to basically make this feel like two matches instead of one, which I think hurt things.

The first few minutes of the Cobb vs. Bandido part were painfully plodding. Then, just when it looked like things were starting to pick up, they did a diving rana to the outside that they took a LONG time to recover from (and especially comparatively to every other dive we've seen this weekend). Hopefully that was just selling and no none was actually hurt, but given how dangerously close to the fans they were, I wouldn't be too surprised if someone was.

There wasn't really anything of a story here, as the little bit of "big vs. small" that they did felt more like a consequence of the fact that the cool stuff they could do- Bandido's Lucha Libre (with Cobb being an excellent base to my untrained eyes), Cobb's power moves and big guy flips, and Cobbs using his strength to reverse Bandido's Lucha- was all leaned in a "big vs. small" direction rather than them actually trying to tell that story in their strikes the same way we saw with Trevor Lee vs. Marko Stunt on night two, or that you'd see out of your typical WALTER match, for example. This was really just a ten moderately-paced minutes of "big move, kick-out" over and over, with a reversal or two thrown in. The finish was quite good, but the rest of this was mostly just more stuff. The kick-out of Tour of the Islands was quite the shock, as that move has been pretty well protected everywhere Cobb goes. Cobb's facials selling his disbelief at this were probably the best he has ever done in his entire career.

The crowd seemed pretty quiet until there was a big spot and kick-out, then they'd pop huge, and then quiet down again. The exception to this was a subsection of about 25-30% of the crowd who were cheering heavily for Bandido, but the rest of the crowd didn't seem to care who won, or really about much of anything. They felt like they popped at the "right times" to pop because that's what you're supposed to, but most of the time it just seemed like "more moves" to them, and I can't blame them because without any sort of story, what's the different between a spot in this match and a spot in the earlier Janela vs. Bandido match, for example?

POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Cobb wants a shot at WALTER - If I were PWG, I'd book WALTER to defend against Shingo before the Cobb match because those two have been fantastic together. Bandido flew his father in to see the show. That was nice of him.

Final Thoughts
This was a very disappointing show from PWG. It was just... too much. As much as I have come to enjoy the format of the first two nights, I think the tournament needs to be shorter. It just goes on too long, the semifinal matches get very little time because everyone has already worked once and half of the guys will have to go again in the finals, and after two nights of PWG "style," I've already seen every move that there is to see (other than, for some reason, a chokeslam and a spider suplex, the two most awesome moves in wrestling). It's just too many matches doing the same stuff.

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